Exhibit Retrospective

Hello Friends!

Before I go and forget all the things I have done so far in my foray into exhibit design,  I think its best to jot some of them down. Upon doing this, I have felt a renewed sense of accomplishment and have seen just how far I have come and how far I still get to go!

Working on exhibits for the Museum is equal parts infuriating and exciting. Infuriating, because every task seems to take twice as long as I thought it would, the really great tools are always super expensive, and sometimes there’s just not enough time or money to do everything I want to do. Exhibit work is exciting because making things with my bare hands is one of the most satisfying activities in my life. Having an idea in my head and helping to make it a reality that I then can share with an entire community is exhilarating. Creating new ways to construct exhibits by using whatever shoe string budget items we can afford is challenging and yet also thrilling.  I absolutely LOVE my job and feel honored and humbled that I get to be the one to do it.

I have learned a great deal about museums, community outreach, marketing, design, team work, leadership  and construction over the years. Going back through my work I have found some examples of work I have done. I am in no way an expert. I keep learning and researching every single day, and I plan to go back to school as soon as I can save up enough. The purpose of this post is a sort of ode to works past.

In Focus Photo Contest 2014

This project was a contest of sorts. Photographers were allowed to enter with photos of museum campus to be judged and voted on by museum visitors for a month. This was really fun to hang and one of the first wall installations I did. I still remember laying them all out on the floor and trying to plan it out.

  • What I loved: choosing the layout
  • What I learned: layouts take time to design


The Lagesse Legacy 2014

One of my very first solo projects over at the Stone Barn. I was given the content and artifacts and allowed to set it up and design whatever I wanted. This was a really fun project and while the style is outdated, I think it shows how far my designs have come. This was my first board made in Publisher, and I’m still proud of how it turned out.

  • What I loved: first solo exhibit!!
  • What I learned: the subtle intricacies of Publisher


bank1bank2bank3bank4  Bank Exhibit 2015

This exhibit is a good example of how my exhibit design has evolved over time. I was responsible for the items behind the bank tellers booth and the items in the case; the board, however was done by another member of the team.

The items behind the bank teller booth are displayed in a way I still tend to use. They are out of arms reach but yet still not encased in glass. While I think there may be too many artifacts back there to tell a cohesive message, they still set the stage for the bank exhibit.

While the exhibit case has what I consider a decent layout, it was just another case of “how much stuff can we put in here?” I am not even sure those artifacts are all relevant to the exhibit, nor do I quite understand the message viewers were supposed to be able to receive. Looking back with a critical eye, I would have to say I was thinking more about how to get the most things out there without how the visitor may interpret the over all theme of the exhibit.

  • What I loved: setting up the artifacts behind the bank booth
  • What I learned: every single artifact does not have to go out 



Radeke Brewery 2014

One of my FAVORITE exhibits to put together. We had SO much fun! While there are many things I would change if I could turn back time, I still love the look of this exhibit. It was a combination of educational content and artifact eye candy. I loved it so much. I would have to say the glass beer steins under the table were the most fun. I bought them at a dollar store, printed out the labels on computer paper, and filled the mugs with gelatin to look like liquid. I enjoyed the mixture of artifacts and props to tell the Brewery’s story.

  • What I loved: making the beer steins
  • What I learned: how do make a construction order/help make a shelf



Typewriter Exhibit 2015

We only made this exhibit because we had an extra room and a LOT of typewriters. I really like the way it turned out. We had a shelf built out from the wall and a small table made to house the machines. They are arranged in order from oldest to youngest. This was so much fun to research and we had a few fun days of cleaning the machines.

  • What I loved: designing artifact layout
  • What I learned: measure and design a layout first

There are several other small exhibits I have worked on and various art shows I have curated. We have a saying at the museum that each day is not what you plan it to be and nothing could be more true. Even when the days are the most hectic and crazy, I am still learning and absorbing. I wouldn’t trade my job for any in the world.




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